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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Hands Kasyanov Villa Land to State

The Moscow Arbitration Court ruled Thursday to hand the land on which former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov's villa stands back to the state, but did not clear up whether the sale of the villa itself was legal.

The court did not rule on whether Kasyanov had legally privatized the villa in the Moscow region settlement of Sosnovka-1, even though the Federal Property Management Agency had asked for this also to be invalidated.

"Legal questions have as usual given way to questions of politics," Kasyanov said in a reponse on Thursday, Reuters reported. "This decision is based not on the materials of the case and not on law -- it is a reflection of the political conditions and the obedience of one branch of power to another."

Kasyanov's lawyer, Yelena Heifets, told Ekho Moskvy radio that Kasyanov did not own but leases the land plot. Heifets said Kasyanov would appeal Thursday's ruling.

Last month, the same arbitration court invalidated billionaire Mikhail Fridman's purchase of another former state-owned villa located near Kasyanov's.

Investigations into the purchases of the luxury villas at below market prices began after Kasyanov last year voiced criticism of the Kremlin and said that he was considering running for president in 2008.